Introduction – What is a Digital Assessment Centre?
An assessment centre (or assessment day) can be defined as a combination of tasks and activities which is designed to test one’s suitability for the job they’ve applied for. This provides individuals the chance to display a wider range of skills compared to a traditional face-to-face interview. A digital assessment centre is essentially the same thing but done virtually/online.
Assessment centres tend to be commonplace within the application process(es) for student and graduate jobs, especially for a placement year or graduate scheme. These can span from a morning, to an afternoon, to two full working days, and are often the final stage of the selection process for large graduate recruiters. Furthermore, you’ll usually be joined by six to eight other candidates (but make sure to remain focused on your own performance!)
Due to factors such as COVID-19 and advancements in technology, lots of employers now tend to explore ways to keep their recruitment processes running using mostly or purely digital means. Digital assessment centres are one solution to this. They more or less emulate in-person assessment centres but require you to consider a few other things.
How it works?
As can be inferred from the name, a digital assessment centre will take place on an online video platform rather than in-person. The specifics of the day may vary between assessment centres however some parts of it, such as group tasks, interviews and presentations will be commonplace. In any case, all candidates will likely be given the details about the day beforehand, including how to log on and what time slot you’ve been assigned for certain tasks. You might also have to prepare
some work ahead of time and upload it digitally for assessors to view.
What to expect?
- Group Exercises – These can vary from simple ice-breaker exercises to being given a specific scenario or set of information to solve, debate on or present as a team. Assessors will typically observe candidates to see if they possess sills and traits such as: confidence, communication, problem-solving, ability to listen, delegation, leadership, persuasiveness and teamwork.
- E-Trays – An e-tray is an emulation of a real work scenario. Candidates will be given a scenario and an accompanying series of documents or tasks varying in importance and will be asked to prioritize each task and to justify their choices, offering an action for each one. Abilities that will be assessed include: your ability to prioritize tasks, process large volumes of information, make decisions, time management, ability to work under pressure and effective organization ability.
- Presentations – In digital assessment centers, candidates may sometimes be asked to prepare a presentation beforehand to be presented on the day. Here, assessors will observe your presentation’s content and assess you based on how well you’ve met the brief as well as your confidence, professionalism, communication, time management, and obviously presentation skills.
- Role plays – Role-plays are simulated scenarios allowing assessors to observe how you would respond in a real-life situation at work. They’re often used if the job you’re applying for is a customer/client facing role. Your interpersonal skills such as communication and negotiation, and your ability to think on your feet and handle pressure will all be assessed.
- Case studies – Candidates are typically given a range of documents or a situation and are asked, either verbally or through a written report, to analyze the information and offer advice or a conclusion. You may be required to do this individually or as part of a team. Skills such as: analytical thinking, judgement and problem solving skills, commercial awareness, innovation and organization will all be assessed.
- Psychometric Tests – These are online tests employers use to determine your skills and aptitude for a specific job or subject area. They can also highlight a camdidate’s Knowledge, values and motivations. Some examples include verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, logical reasoning and even situational judgement, or personality tests. Assessors will be on the look out for personalities that align with their company’s values and candidates who score highly, particularly in tests that assess skills most relevant to the role. (To understand and have a go at some mock psychometric tests, check out our resources page and go to the ‘Aptitude Tests’ section).
Example of a Digital Assessment Centre timetable
9.00am – Log-in (just as it says, you log into the digital assessment software)
9.15am – Brief introductions from employer and overview of the day(s)
9.30am – Ice-breaker and brief introductions with other candidates (You spend this time briefly getting to know other candidates and potential partners who you may have to work with in upcoming activities/tasks)
9.45am – Activity: Psychometric tests (You’ll be given your first task/activity for the day, if it so happens to be a psychometric test, expect it to be relevant to the job role and similar to the one you most likely would have experienced earlier in the application progress)
11.00am – Short break (Use this to quickly build more rapport with others, displaying your communication and conversational skills and/or to have a quick snack to recharge for the next activiity)
11.15am – Activity 2: individual interviews (2nd activity for the day before lunch)
12.30pm – Lunch break
1.30pm – Activity 3: group presentation (3rd activity of the day, if its a group exercise then prepare to be split off into separate virtual rooms to work together whilst beingi monitored)
3.00pm – Short break
3.15pm – Activity 4: E-tray & role plays
4.15pm – Final debrief (Final debrief will simply be the assessors thanking you and letting you know about any next steps you need to take)
4.30pm – Log out
How to prepare?
Review the job description! Doing this will help you know what competencies assessors might be on the look out for, e.g. if the job is a client-facing role then you should aim to demonstrate your communication as well as interpersonal skills on the day.
Review your CV and/or application form in order to refresh yourself on what information you wrote about yourself as an assessor may ask you about something in your CV or application at any point during the day – especially if there is an interview!
Find somewhere you can practice what might come up! For example psychometric tests can be found and made readily available online. If you think or know that role-playing will come up at some point during the day then practice scenarios with a friend or family member.
Check your tech! Make sure your devices you’ll be using are fully charged e.g. laptop. Also be sure to check well in advance that your webcam is working and your other distracting devices are switched off.
Present yourself professionally. Make sure you dress the part and that your body language is positive and not too relaxed.
Bsynergetic is a platform that provides a hub for students and graduates who are looking to network, find new job opportunities, and develop their career skills. We do this via our online platform, app, and events at universities. If you are interested in checking out some of our other content please visit our other insights.